In programming classes, during the dawning of the computer age, I recall the phrase, “Hello World.” It was used as the first statement a newbee programmer would have his first program write to a screen. This movie, “Goodbye World!” used a spin-off of that phrase as the last thing to be displayed on all cell phones as the computer age crashed into night. The movie, set in Northern California, centered on a group of old college friends, now middle-aged, that managed to get together as the world plummeted into chaos. It is explained that after college, after these friends went their own ways, two of the them, James and Lilly, were awakened to the fragility of the world, especially food production, electricity, and transportation. They not only saw that the modern world was headed toward an abrupt halt, they acted upon that vision. They left the city, heading to Northern California to build a self-sustaining home high on a mountain.
. . .let us keep awake and be sober. (1 Thes 5:6)
It is in this home that the old college friends gather. It’s not a movie with “we all lived happily ever after.” Right from the start the group finds it must deal with diverse personalities and perspectives. Ever the pragmatist, James has collected a sizable cache of food and medicine, and developed a large truck garden. He has a filtered well and solar panels providing power not only for the well, but also for the house. Lilly, on the other hand, would rather not think about tomorrow, and simply eat, drink, smoke dope, and be happy for the moment. James and another, more pragmatic friend, head into town to the small grocery store to pick up some supplies. They find that a motorcycle gang has taken over the store, and raise the prices a thousand percent. They pay with cash and a gold watch. Once outside the store, the witness three men taking groceries away from another man, and they leave without helping him. On the way home, they stop at a neighbor who often has sold them meat and things they don’t raise. They buy it at the same cost, added to their “tab,” that they’d always paid. They are neighbors, after all.
Internal tensions rise in the house as they learn of the extent of civil breakdown in the United States, and that two members of this old-college group, have contributed to the meltdown of society through their computer-hacking and virus-creating activities. Then the neighbor who’d sold them some meat comes by the house to ask for spare medicine. Someone from town has an infection and the motorcycle gang took all the drugs from the store when it left town. James says he doesn’t have anything to offer.
Next major event is that many of the neighbors from lower down the mountain have gathered at the home below James’s. Along come two armed National Guardsmen. They are told they can’t stay at James’s home, that the Constitution forbids it. They don’t leave the area, but settle in with the now larger group living in the home farther down the mountain. Trouble brews when that group is stirred up by these “soldiers,” when they learn of the large food cache and medicines that James and his friends have in their home. These soldiers come to James’s home, and at gun point, declare that James will not only share the food cache, but give all medicine to them. James sees no recourse, and agrees. The next day, James takes food down the hill, but not the medicine. He says that he will share the medicine, but the ill must come to him. It is his preparations, after all. One of the soldiers, a man named Damien, decides to kill James to make a point that to all not to defy Damien and his authority. That group does nothing. Just as Damien is about to kill James, he is shot by one of the old college friends, a woman, who’d come down behind James. She then makes a speech that begins with one spoken by General George Washington:
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.” (Address to the Continental Army before the battle of Long Island, Aug. 27, 1776.)[Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/w/washington_george_ii.html#x4CP8VkwaPuVvH70.99]
Someone yells, “Who’s our enemy?” To which the woman says, “We are are own enemies.” She then goes on to say that we need to work together, for if we are are going to live free, we must work together.
What strikes me from this movie is that the character James is a hippie sort, yet wants to maintain control of that which he has stored, without sharing beyond his own household. Additionally, while wanting to maintain his home as his, to maintain his freedom and liberty, he is unwilling and unable to fight for it. It is the woman who ends up shooting the soldier Damien, that is willing to not only share, but to band together to form a cooperative, to work together for all their common good. And obviously she is willing to fight for that freedom, that liberty.
This soldier, Damien, represents the reign of tyranny an individual can inflict upon a community. These tyrants are not leaders, not rulers, not raised by G-d to serve people. They only wish to dominate, to control, to live at ease at the expense of humans for which they have no respect, no love. They gather others around them who’d rather join them than be against them. They suck the lives out of those they attempt to control. They are bullies. They deserve nothing more than to die. This is my opinion. As Christians we have a moral obligation to work toward righteousness, keeping always an eternal perspective. What does that mean? I think the meaning includes that the righteous have nothing to do with the schemes of the devil. I think the schemes of the devil include using willing humans to bring chaos and slavery to the lives of the righteous. If we fail to be on guard, fail to watch, we are going to sleep and darkness will fall upon us and we will be enslaved, economically, socially, morally. We will lose the rewards that we’ve gained, we will lose our crowns. If, as so many believe, the time is short, we must be doubly sure that we fall not into the devils way.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine . . .